Conceptual, structural and epistemic aspects of science teachers’ argumentation practices in the context of evolutionary theory

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2014
Yeşilyurt, Ezgi
The purpose of this study was to examine conceptual, structural and epistemic aspects of science teachers’ argumentation practices and how they used conceptual knowledge to articulate their arguments at different epistemic levels in the context of evolutionary theory. This study was conducted with qualitative multiple case study research. In this respect, data were collected from four separate cases. In particular, four science teachers who taught middle school science from 5th to 8th grade were selected as cases for this study. Science teachers were interviewed based on four evolutionary scenarios. Data was analyzed through using six different pre-established frameworks. The results of this study illustrated that science teachers frequently used scientifically appropriate criteria to distinguish alternative explanations from each other. Among of these, science teachers with high conceptual knowledge appealed to theoretical criteria while others with low conceptual knowledge appealed to empirical criteria. Another result of this study was that some of them appealed to Lamarck’s inheritance of acquired traits and use and disuse theories, and adaptation as cause of evolutionary change. In addition, teleological reasoning was prominence among teachers. Specifically, they perceived evolutionary process as a goal-driven process. The results also indicated that all supported their arguments with multiple justifications; however, they scarcely constructed counter-arguments, from which was concluded that they had confirmation bias. They also constructed more theoretical propositions than data propositions. This finding pointed to unfamiliarity with the use of data. Lastly, evolutionary concepts along with misconceptions and cognitive biases about evolution were articulated in their theoretical justifications.
Citation Formats
E. Yeşilyurt, “Conceptual, structural and epistemic aspects of science teachers’ argumentation practices in the context of evolutionary theory,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2014.